The Most Important Love Language In A Good Marriage

Human beings are wired to crave affection.

Last updated on Mar 10, 2024

Couple holding hands Gustavo Fring | Canva 

Couples, whether in a dating relationship or a marriage, may not realize the importance of creating intimacy through affection and touch every day. Thanks to technology, it's easy for even a good marriage to crumble, due to relying on communication and attachment through devices rather than physical presence. One of the five "love languages," touch is linked to the deep, healthy attachment between couples and it's more important even than that. Not receiving enough physical intimacy in your relationship can leave you literally "touch starved," and desperate for skin-to-skin contact with your love.


Many couples become more attached to their cell phones than they are to each other. If it were between losing their cell phone at a mall or their partner, they'd panic more over the former. Siri is a source of comfort, easily accessed from your pocketbook or back pockets. You can go anywhere in the world, and if you're hungry you can simply ask, "Siri, find me the closest deli," and "she" finds you the most direct route to the juiciest corned beef sandwich in the area.

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She responds to some of your most basic human questions: "Are you always there for me? Is taking care of me your top priority?" However, as illuminated in the movie Her, there is one basic human need in this modern age of instant gratification that you can't receive from electronic devices — physical, human connection. Even the most sophisticated operating system, designed with the attractive and soothing voice of Scarlett Johansson, can't touch the deep need for direct, affectionate physical human contact.




Much research over the past 80 years validates the love language of touch and physical affection as an essential need for your development and well-being. In the 1930s, psychologist Harry Harlow proved the true centrality of touch to normal primate development. He proved that simple room and board is not enough. Humans need physical comfort and affection. Much research has also proven how important it is to simply gaze at one another.

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Michael Orlans, a former attachment researcher stated, "The gaze between baby and caregiver is a primary form of communication for attachment. The infant gazes into [their] mother's eyes and receives powerful messages about her emotions and involvement, which influences the baby's feelings of safety and security." This primary source of information is often neglected in our new-age relationships given that much of modern communication is now made without eye-to-eye contact. Sitting on the sofa gazing at shows on your giant TV screen with your sweetie isn't a great example of nourishing your relationship quality (despite what you may believe) — though it is the most common way many couples describe how they "connect."




Dr. Albert Mehrabian, author of Silent Messages, discovered that 93 percent of the way humans communicate is through non-verbal elements such as facial gestures, posture, and tone of voice. Where does that leave Siri in our lives? If she's front and center, then you're only getting 7 percent of your prescribed human diet of connection. My work with couples serves to return us to our most basic form of connection, rooted in gaze and touch. Before we get into the verbal exchange of information, couples sit in chairs, facing each other, holding hands and gazing.

RELATED: True Intimacy Comes From One Particular Kind Of Touching

The momentary discomfort that comes with being out of practice melts into a state of limbic resonance, one that's millions of years in the making. Couples who haven't touched each other in months often begin crying at the extreme intensity of emotion that comes with a sense of "coming home" to their most basic need for connection. In the truest sense of the expression, couples sync up with each other, as their two operating systems exchange information, in the way humans were initially designed to communicate. My advice to committed couples in this day of modern marriage is to sync up with the gaze and touch of one another, with the same urgency they check their emails, voicemails, and tweets with.


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Nancy Hyatt is a marriage and family therapist, a psychotherapist, and a transformational leadership coach with expertise in relational and personal transformation.